Bohem Associates has answers to "Frequently Asked Questions"
Describe an appraisal
Describe an appraisal(Return to top) An appraisal is an estimation leading to an opinion of value. The real estate appraiser will typically use a number of "approaches," typically three, to arrive at the estimation of market value. One of them is the Cost Approach - which is what it would cost to replace the improvements, minus physical deterioration and other factors, plus the land value. Another of the processes is the Sales Comparison Approach - which deals with discovering a comparison to other similar properties within a close vicinity which have recently sold. Usually, the Sales Comparison Approach is the most definite indicator of market value of a house. The third approach is the Income Approach, which is of most importance in appraising income producing properties - it involves estimating what an investor would pay based on the income produced by the property.
What does an appraiser do?(Return to top) An appraiser offers a professional, unbiased opinion of market value, often in the context of a real estate purchase. Appraisers document their conclusions in appraisal reports.
What would cause me to request services from Bohem Associates?(Return to top) There are a lot of reasons to get an appraisal with the usual reason being real estate and mortgage transactions. Some other reasons for obtaining an appraisal include:
How is an appraisal different than a home inspection? (Return to top)Home inspectors do not figure out an opinion of value and do not use the same forms as appraisers. A third-party home inspector will investigate the structure of the house, from the top to the foundation. For the most part, a home inspection report will evaluate the amenities and the necessities of the house: air conditioning (weather permitting), electrical systems, the condition of the heating system, the plumbing; then the structural capacity of the home such as the attic, exposed insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, then the foundation, basement and visible structures.
Is an appraisal the same as a comparative market analysis(CMA)?(Return to top) Honestly, they have nothing in common. The CMA uses market trends to generate most of their business. The appraisal relies on similar verifiable comparable sales. In addition, the appraisal looks at other factors like condition, area and construction prices. A CMA delivers a "ball park figure." Delivering a defensible and careful analysis, an appraisal will give a clear opinion of value.
But the largest differentiator is who's doing the report. Real estate agents produce CMA's, and they don't always know the whole market or have specific competence when it comes to home valuation. The appraisal is created by a licensed, certified professional who has made a career out of valuing properties. Likewise, the agent has a vested interest in the property's selling price - their commission - whereas the appraiser is bound by a code of ethics to accept a flat fee for work they perform, regardless of their value conclusion.
What can I expect to see in my appraisal report? (Return to top)Each appraisal must indicate a supported estimate of value and will clearly state the following:
Upon completion of the appraisal, what assurance is there that the final number is trustworthy?(Return to top) In the documentation of an appraisal, each appraiser must see to it that each of the items below are covered:
Who engages the services of appraisers?(Return to top) Mortgage lenders are an appraiser's typical customer, using their services to ensure real estate involved in a mortgage transaction is enough to cover a loan balance in the case of default. Attorneys and CPAs also retain the services of appraisers for asset division and estate settlements.
Where does Bohem Associates get the data used to estimate values in Chester County or other areas?(Return to top) One of the primary activities of an appraiser is to compile property data. Data can be described as either Specific or General. Specific data is from the home itself; Location, condition, amenities, size and other specifics are gathered by the appraiser while on site.
General data is received from a numerous sources. Local Multiple Listing Services (MLS) provide data on recently sold homes that might be used as comparables. Tax records and other public documents verify actual sales prices in a market. Flood zone data is retrieved from FEMA data outlets, such as a la mode's InterFlood product.
And most importantly, the appraiser assimilates general data from his or her collective knowledge gained from creating appraisals for other houses in the same market.
How can a licensed appraiser help me?(Return to top) Any time the value of your home or other real property is being used to make a significant financial decision, an appraisal helps. For those selling a home, you'll want to determine the price that gets you the most profit but doesn't leave your home on the market too long; an appraisal can help with that. When buying, you can avoid overpaying by commissioning an independent appraisal. If you're engaged in an estate settlement or divorce, it ensures that property is divided fairly. A house is often the single, largest financial asset anybody owns. Knowing its true value is essential to making the right financial decisions.
My mortgage statement has an item on it for PMI? Can I get rid of that?(Return to top) PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance. PMI protects the lender in case a borrower defaults on the loan and the market price of the home is less than what is owed on the loan. Once you can prove the amount you owe on your home is less than 80% of the home's market value, you can make a case to your lender to drop the PMI.
How do I get ready for the appraiser?(Return to top) We begin with an inspection of the property. During this process, the appraiser will come to your home and measure it, determine the layout of the rooms inside, confirm all aspects of the home's general condition, and take several photos of your house for inclusion in the report. The best thing you can do to help is make sure the appraiser has easy access to the exterior of the house . Trim any bushes and relocate any items that would get in our way while we measure the structure. On the inside, make sure the appraiser can get to items like furnaces and water heaters.
You can make the inspection go faster and improve the quality of the appraisal report by having the following things on hand:
How does an appraiser define "Market Value"?(Return to top) In real estate appraising, Market Value (as opposed to Fair Market Value) is commonly defined as:
Who has rights to the appraisal report?(Return to top) For mortgage transactions, the lender requests the appraisal, either directly or through a third party. Even though it's the buyer that eventually pays for the report, the lender is the intended user. The buyer is entitled to a copy of the appraisal - it's usually included with all the other closing documents - but is not entitled to use the report for any other purpose without permission from the lender.
It's different when it's the homeowner engaging the appraiser for things outside securing a mortgage. In these situations, the appraiser may state the purpose of the appraisal; for PMI removal, or estate planning or tax challenges, for example. If not noted otherwise, the home owner can use the appraisal for any purpose.
Are some home improvements more worthwhile than others?(Return to top) Like all things real estate, this is dependent on a home's location. For example, while quality appliances are attractive, a $7000 built-in refrigerator won't pay off in a neighborhood of moderately priced homes
As a rule, the best ROI from renovating a home comes in the kitchen. According to one national survey, kitchen remodels returned an average of 88% of the investment. In other words, a $10,000 kitchen remodeling project would add approximately $8,800 to the value of the home. Bathrooms were second, returning 85%. Adding bedrooms and baths can also increase the value of your home as long as your home doesn't then become an oddball for your neighborhood in terms of size.